Saturday VINTAGE 

By Bayo Adeoye in New York

Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi’s she came about the ‘Celebrate the Comforter’ idea last year. Basking on the euphoria of the success of the first edition in London last year, she vowed proudly that  the 2018 edition would be bigger more successful, no one doubted her and so she delivered on her promise.

This reporter was among the few journalists that traveled to New York, United States for the convention that has massive turnout of faithful from both the Celestial Church of Christ and Cherubim and Seraphim Movement.

From the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos it was evidence that something big was about to happen in Christendom. An Immigration officer at John Fredrick Kennedy in New York confirmed that he had never seen such a large group of people traveling for an event in a long time.

The event, which is in pursuit of a dream of the global unification of the white garment churches, succeeded in creating the awareness that was meant to be.

The whole of New York was also aware about the convention as many hotels such as Park Central Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and others hotels in the heart of Manhattan in New York were fully booked by the attendees.

The convention venue, the 3,327-seater magnificent paradise like United Palace theatre in Washington Heights was filled to capacity as the blissful experience was lifted off with the rendition of soul-stirring hymns and spiritual songs by the mass choir which was an assemblage of the choirs of the churches.

In case you don’t know, United Palace is a transformational organization and venue that fuses culture, spirituality, and entertainment. It is the fourth largest theater in Manhattan and a hub of creative expression and personal growth.

The whole of New York literarily stood still for the Celebrate the Comforter! While speaking on the convention, Ajayi, who shepherds a thriving Cherubim and Seraphim Church in London, said the event was designed to glorify God and to also act as a bonding agent between all white garment churches and the celebration of the biblical fact that the body of Christ is indivisible; and the church of Christ must also remain as one.

She noted that the Church prayed and fasted before the event and they knew the convention was going to be a success but was overwhelmed by the unexpected turnout as the hall was overflown with many dignitaries from Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom.

She stated that she was happy that her efforts to unite the Celestial Church of Christ and Cherubim and Seraphim Church had started yielding fruits.

“Apart from members of the Celestial Church of God and Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Christians of other denominations as well as non- Christians were part of the convention. What was one of my highest points of the event was that my beautician, Jenny, who is a North Korean received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I told my husband that this was similar to events recorded in the Act of Apostle in the Bible. I was fulfilled even if Jenny was the only one that received the Holy Spirit, the programme was therefore a success, because Angels rejoice in Heaven whenever one soul is won to Christ,” she said.

She added, ‘‘I had never witnessed such, and her testimony was that she did not know what came upon her. I am now giving her all the encouragement. That was not all, many other people also gave their lives in the course of the programme.’’

The leadership of both the Cherubim & Seraphim Church and the Celestial Church were present to lenttheir support to the vision of the very prominent spiritual leader, Ajayi.

The founder of the Esther Ajayi Foundation also played host to notable figures including former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Ooni of Ife, HIM Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi;  Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, His Royal Highness Olusola Alao, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, representative of  Mayor of New York was among several others.

Also speaking at the event, the Shepherd-in-charge of Genesis Model International, CCC, Prophet Israel Ogundipe said the convention had proved that white garment churches were not fetish but believe in Jesus Christ.

He said, “The convention is an avenue to bridge the gap that exists in the body of Christ because other churches are always invited and carried along. Pastor S.K Abiara of Christ Apostolic Church; His Most Eminence Prophet (Dr.) Solomon Adegboyega Alao; Rev. Pastor Emmanuel Mobiyina Friday Oshoffa and some Bishops of other churches were present during the last edition. I must commend the efforts of Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi and I can tell you that she is one in a million.”

This year’s edition will continue to linger in the memories of the attendees.

Most prominent spiritual leaders who attended last year’s edition in the UK were also present

Prominent among the artistes who performed at the event included Lanre Teriba, Sinach, and Sir Shina Peters.